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Landlord Given Suspended Sentence

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A landlord who broke fire safety laws in London has been handed a suspended prison sentence and told to carry out 100 hours of community service.

The landlord rented out rooms in a disused pub in Kentish Town - Tavern Inn the Town - and was found out following a fire safety audit of the premises in January 2010.

According to London Fire Brigade (LFB), a number of concerns were raised, including a lack of fire detection system and poor escape facilities from the building. Having returned to the same building in July that year, fire safety officers found people living at the premises and sleeping on mattresses. Mr O'Leary was then questioned on the issue and admitted that the property was being used as sleeping accommodation. The organisation again reiterated the dangers involved in using properties such as these as bedsits because of the risks in heating, cooking and lighting living accommodation. Speaking after the sentencing London Fire Brigade's assistant commissioner for fire safety regulation Steve Turek said this should be a warning for other landlords using buildings in the same way. "The issue of unsuitable buildings being rented out as accommodation continues to be a concern for London Fire Brigade and this verdict sends out a clear message that if building owners ignore their responsibilities under fire safety law we will not hesitate to prosecute and they will face serious penalties," he noted.

Furthermore, the Judge said while handing down the sentence that it was only good luck that a serious incident did not occur over the last few years, therefore making the sentence handed to Mr O'Leary just.

Non-domestic premises in England and Wales must have a 'suitable and sufficient' fire risk assessment carried out under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. If the assessment is thought to have been carried out to an insufficient extent, the Responsible Person can face an unlimited fine or up to two years in prison.